|William P. Brown
William P. Brown was one of Coffeyville’s most astute businessmen. He was born in Ohio in 1861.
W. P.'s father, William Robert Brown, fought with the Union Army during the Civil War. He served as a Colonel of the Thirteenth West Virginia infantry. At the end of the Civil War he was promoted to Brevet Brigadier General. After the war ended, W. P.'s father moved the family to Independence, Kansas. To escape a difficult relationship, W. P. Brown left home at the age of 14.
W. P. worked at various jobs in Independence and Cherryvale, Kansas. He met his lovely wife-to-be Nancy from Ohio, when she was visiting relatives in Independence.
The Browns were married in Ohio but moved back to Independence to start a lumber business. They had two sons who died in infancy; a four-year-old son, William, died of pneumonia in 1898, and son Donald died at age 11. Violet was their only child who lived to adulthood.
The Browns moved to Coffeyville in 1890, and turned an old carpenter shop
into a lumber company. Several years later, Brown smelled natural gas outside his company’s building and, six months later, he discovered one of the largest natural gas wells in the country. Brown went on to found the Coffeyville Mining and Gas Company and owned several other businesses in the area. Although plans were initiated in 1898, the Brown Mansion was not completed until 1906.